In 2014 the government allowed the Environment Agency access to powers to apply civil penalties, known as “Civil Sanctions”. The majority of civil sanctions applied have been “Enforcement Undertakings”. These are voluntarily offered by businesses that have breached environmental regulations. It enables the Environment Agency to decide whether or not to prosecute the business for the breach. The primary purpose of enforcement undertakings is to allow the offender to restore and remediate environmental damage they have caused.
Ribble Rivers Trust supports enforcement undertakings as they seek to restore and remediate environmental damage locally. Where prosecutions occur, the associated fines do not guarantee in funding being made available local to where the offence occurred. As a result restoration and remediation doesn’t occur.
If you are responsible for an offence, and/or pollution incident it is essential that you act quickly. Report it immediately to the Environment Agency, and cease the activity resulting in the offence and/or pollution to minimise the impact. The sooner this occurs you may be able to avoid the risk of prosecution. As well as to avoid the the associated reputational harm, legal costs, fines, increased insurance costs and risk to future contracts/business.
How we might help
Ribble Rivers Trust has historically delivered enforcement undertakings for restoration and remediation activities, and continues to be well placed to do so. The Trust has a team of staff who have experience in delivering a range of environmental activities. Including river and stream restoration, and woodland and wetland projects (in both rural and urban settings). We work across the rivers Ribble, Hodder, Calder, Darwen and all of their tributaries. We are able to offer specialist advice, guidance and assistance to businesses and individuals to ensure that the best outcomes occur from any environmental offence.
For more detail on civil sanctions and enforcement actions you can read the Environment Agency guidance here (including a link to Enforcement undertaking offer form): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-enforcement-and-sanctions-statement
If you would like to discuss Enforcement Undertakings in the Ribble Catchment (or any of its tributaries) please contact the Trust via our contact page.